A Necessary Evil: Keeping Track of the Writing Stuff

I’d like to eventually write fiction full time.  It means, among other things, that I have to write a lot, but I also have to get my act together with the organization side.  That’s not always been easy.  My typical research session was go to the library, scrawl some stuff on some notes I intended to put in a 3-ring binder, and then the pages wander off on their own.

Most of the methods everyone advocates are way too complicated, way too much work, and way too structured.  They’re also for a one book writer, not someone who has to keep track of multiple projects.  I guess the person with the goal of getting one or a few books published doesn’t have to think as much about being more — I wanted to put efficient here, but that’s a dangerous word that some companies use to pile more work on people.  So a more basic phrase: Able to easily find everything with minimal effort and work.

Because I want to write, not spend my time organizing everything.

I’ve been using Evernote, which is free.  My focus has been on paying attention to the tags.  It’s easy to mess those up.  One of my challenges is that sometimes I’ll come up with a different tag, but one that duplicates others.  Or I forget the tags entirely.

Bridging the Nerd Gap has some excellent tips.  One of the major ones that I have to pay attention to is curating (#24).  It’s very easy to see something interesting, toss it in, and never figure out how I’m supposed to find it again.  And I really have to make sure I do it on a regular basis because it is so easy for chaos to wander in.  Sometimes I use pictures to help me describe things, and I was just going through those.  Some were labeled with the file name or site name, which made no sense.  So I had to clean up titles.

One thing I do for the tags is try to group them, so all like tags are sorted together.  So my research for Hawaii is HI-Plants and Animals; HI-Culture; and so forth.  That way I’m not having to look for however I called it. The stories each have a number assigned to them (e.g., 13s-14), so that number gets assigned to correspondence, writing expenses, etc.  I use an asterisk on a month tag so I can mark when the stories are due.  Much better than writing it in a planner or saving the link somewhere and trying to remember!

It’s still a work in progress though.

Writing Tally

  • Short Story Submission: 1
  • Mystery Novel: 799 words